Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis
mam-mil-AR-ee-uh VET-uh-luh GRASS-il-is
Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis
mam-mil-AR-ee-uh GRASS-il-is FRAJ-ih-liss
Other synonyms of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis from Plats of the World Online (21): Cactus pulchellus (Salm-Dyck) Kuntze, Cactus regius (C.Ehrenb.) Kuntze, Cactus vetulus (Mart.) Kuntze, Chilita fragilis (Salm-Dyck ex K.Brandegee) Orcutt, Chilita vetula (Mart.) Orcutt, Escobariopsis gracilis (Pfeiff.) Doweld, Escobariopsis vetula (Mart.) Doweld, Krainzia gracilis (Pfeiff.) Doweld, Mammillaria fragilis Salm-Dyck ex K.Brandegee, Mammillaria gracilis Pfeiff., Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis A.Berger, Mammillaria gracilis var. pulchella (Salm-Dyck) Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria kuentziana P.Fearn & B.Fearn, Mammillaria magneticola J.Meyrán, Mammillaria pulchella Salm-Dyck, Mammillaria regia C.Ehrenb., Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis (Pfeiff.) D.R.Hunt, Mammillaria vetula subsp. lacostei Plein & Heinr.Weber, Mammillaria vetula subsp. magneticola (J.Meyrán) U.Guzmán, Neomammillaria fragilis (Salm-Dyck ex K.Brandegee) Britton & Rose, Neomammillaria vetula (Mart.) Britton & Rose
Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis (Pfeiff.) D.R.Hunt is the correct and accepted name for this subspecies of Mammillaria vetula. It was named and described by David Richard Hunt in Mammillaria Postscripts in 1997. It was first named Mammillaria gracilis by Ludwig Karl Georg Pfeiffer in Gartenzeitung in 1838.
Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis A.Berger was named and described by Alwin Berger in Kakteen in 1929.
Mammillaria vetula Mart. was named and described by Carl (Karl) Friedrich Philipp von Martius in Nova Acta Physico in 1832.
The genus, Mammillaria Haw., was named and described by Adrian Hardy Haworth in Synopsis Plantarum Succulentarum in 1812. According to Plants of the World Online by Kew, there are 162 accepted species in the Mammillaria genus as of when I am updating this page on 12-26-19. That number is likely to change and has done so many times since I started blogging.
So, I suppose, according to date named, the species Mammillaria vetula wins the prize…
I bought this cactus from Lowe’s on July 18, 2018. The label says is a Mammillaria gracilis fragilis monstrose. Mammillaria gracilis subsp. fragilis is now a synonym of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis.
The label says:
“Mammillaria gracilis v. fragilis monstrose is a special monstrose cultivar of the charming miniature Mammillaria gracilis fragilis. Clusters prolifically to form mats. Satiny creamy yellow flowers in the late winter. Protect from frost to prevent scarring. Provide bright light; hardy to 20F; to 4” tall. Water thoroughly when soil is dry.
This plant was bulging in a small 11 oz. pot that was 3 1/4” tall x 3 1/2” diameter. The cluster of plants was 2” tall x 5” wide.
Origin: Nursery origin. Species from Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30 to 40° F)
Light: Sun to part shade. Looks best when in full sun but needs to be introduced gradually.
*Soil: Very well-draining soil. Potting soil with additional perlite and grit or pumice.
Water: Water sparingly during the summer and barely in the winter.
*There are many cactus and succulent recipes online. I used 2 parts Miracle Grow or Schultz potting soil with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit for many years. Many cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommend using pumice in place of perlite and grit. I began using a mixture of about 50/50 Miracle Grow Potting Soil and pumice in the Fall of 2018 with favorable results. I repot any time of the year as necessary but I have found that repotting in the fall keeps their soil nice and loose for the winter.
Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says “Mammillaria ‘Arizona Snowcap’ is a monstrous form of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis which is characterized by densely packed separate clusters of spines. It looks so different from the wild species that it isn’t easy to realize that they are related. This cultivar offsets generously from sides and upper part of the plant, which gives it a snowball appearance. A mature group can reach 10-12 cm in diameter and 6-8 (10) cm in height.”
They do best and look their best when grown in full sun but are rarely grown that way in cultivation. It is essential that they become acclimated to full sun gradually so the plants won’t burn.
I put the Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on the back porch so it could get more sun maybe it will become more white. We shall see.
I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10 because the forecast was calling for an “F” in a few days and the nighttime temperatures were getting cooler. I usually measure the cactus and succulents when I bring them inside. This cluster of plants measured 1 5/8″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide.
It is recommended that they watered sparingly during the summer and barely it at all during the winter months. I usually go over my cactus and succulents at the same time as my other potted plants, but I go over them quickly.
November 29 was a nice spring-like day, so I took the cactus to the back porch for a photoshoot. I was working on a post to show the difference between the cactus in my collection.
I had a Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis before that was much different. When I first brought this plant home none of the offsets were as thickly covered as a few are now but I still knew it was different than the previous one. In fact, there was one next to it at Lowe’s when I found this one. I have no idea why only a few offsets spines are thicker and the others aren’t. It is going to be an interesting plant to watch.
The species, Mammillaria vetula, has 1-2 central spines and at least 25 radial spines. The subspecies often lack the central spines and only have 11-16 radial spines. The plant I had before also had much longer spines. Its flowers are also shorter. I noticed the areoles on the top have a small tuft of wool but not so much on the lower parts.
Once evening temperatures warmed up I moved the potted plants back outside for the summer. I moved the cactus to the back porch where they could receive full sun. Unfortunately, many offsets died over the winter, including the ones that were more white.
I was fairly busy during the summer so I didn’t take many photos. All the plants did very well despite a little neglect.
I had to bring the potted plants inside on October 11 because an “F” was in the forecast. I always take photos of the plants as I bring them inside and measure the cactus and some of the succulents. One of the offsets had a bud…
November 2 was a nice spring-like day so I took several cactus that were flowering to the front porch for a photoshoot.
On the 16th I decided it was high time I worked on the Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’. I had already repotted several other cactus and succulents. Some just needed their soil changed while others needed bigger pots. I used about 50/50 Miracle Grow Potting Soil and pumice for the mix. There are many recipes online for cactus and succulents, but I prefer something simple. I had used a mixture of 2 parts potting soil with 1 part chicken grit and 1 part perlite for many years then read where succulent enthusiasts prefer pumice. SO, I have been trying that since the fall of 2018 with favorable results. I repot any time of the year as necessary, but I have found Fall is a great time. After a summer of regular watering, the potting mixture can become kind of hard when it is decreased. Repotting in the Fall gives the plants nice and loose soil for the winter.
The largest cluster seemed to be pretty well intact.
After removing the clump from the pot I had to remove the dead…
Then I kind of centered the live plants around the larger cluster.
This is part of the dead plants. I had discarded a few earlier in the summer. Hopefully, the rest will do OK over the winter.
There isn’t much online about this cultivar yet, but maybe someday there will be more.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.